Passage of Bill with out debate in Parliament to reverse verdict on Tribunals is ‘serious issue’: SC

The Supreme Court Monday termed as a “serious issue” the passage of Bill on tribunals with the provisions, struck down earlier, with none debate in Parliament.

The court docket granted 10 days time to the Centre to make appointments in quasi-judicial panels going through extreme crunch of presiding officers, judicial and technical members.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose was very crucial of the passage of the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 with out debate and attributing adequate causes justifying the necessity to reverse the apex courters rulings.

The legislation pertains to phrases and circumstances for the service and tenure of members of varied tribunals and the recent legislation revives among the provisions struck down by a bench headed by Justice L N Rao not too long ago on pleas together with the one filed by Madras Bar Association.

“We have seen two days again as to how what was struck down by this court docket has once more come again. I don’t suppose any debate has taken place in Parliament. No motive has been given. We have completely no downside with the Parliament making legal guidelines.

“Parliament has the right to make any law. But at least we must know what are the reasons for the Government to introduce this Bill again after the striking down of the Ordinance. Nothing is there. I read the newspapers that and from the Finance Ministers, there is only one word that the court has not struck down the Ordinance on constitutionality,” the CJI noticed whereas posting the matter for August 31.

The observations assume significance in view of the truth that the CJI, whereas talking on the 75th Independence Day perform organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, had flagged the identical concern saying that the law-making course of within the nation is in a “sorry state of affairs” as there was lack of debates in Parliament resulting in absence of readability and a “lot of gaps and ambiguity” within the legislations.

At the outset, the CJI himself learn a couple of paragraphs, containing crucial observations towards the federal government’s approach on tribunals, from a judgement rendered by a bench headed by Justice L N Rao.

“…We have noticed a disturbing trend of the Government not implementing the directions issued by this Court. To ensure that the Tribunals should not function as another department under the control of the executive, repeated directions have been issued which have gone unheeded forcing the Petitioner to approach this Court time and again. It is high time that we put an end to this practice…,” the CJI stated, quoting the judgement.

Then the bench expressed unhappiness over the dearth of debate in Parliament in reversing the decision and lack of reasoning for doing it.

Justice Ramana then learn out the assertion of the Minister in Parliament and stated that it had been advised that the “The Judiciary has not struck it (the Ordinance) down on constitutionality. It has solely raised sure questions on some factors. The primacy of the legislature to make legal guidelines is as vital because the independence of the judiciary. We are right here to make legal guidelines…’.

“This was the debate and the reasons accorded in Parliament. This is a serious issue. What are we to understand from this Bill and Act? Tribunals have to be continued or have to be closed? These are the only two issues that have to be dealt with ultimately,” the bench stated, asking that the federal government present it the be aware ready by the ministry for introducing the Bill.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated, “my answer can never be negative when something falls from Your Lordships. But now that the Bill has become an Act, it may not be possible for me to respond right now, as the Parliament has considered something proper to implement it in its wisdom,”

On the difficulty of filling up variety of vacancies in tribunals, the bench famous the reassurance of Mehta and stated in its order that “appointments are underway. We are granting another 10 days to the government. We clarify that the pendency of these matters should not come in the way of appointment of members to Tribunals.”

The bench raised concern of vacancies in tribunals and lack of steps taken to fill them by saying “We have no information that since the last hearing, any appointments have been made.”

Mehta stated he has received the directions to say that some appointments have been made within the Central Administrative Tribunals (CAT) and sought time for making the appointments.

The bench requested the Centre to make as many as potential appointments in 10 days saying “different tribunals that are on verge of becoming defunct.”

The CJI, who on August 6, had given the small print of vacancies in varied tribunals, stated that the appointments are all the time beneath course of.

“I will tell you the meaning of ‘appointment process’. For the last one year and four months, whenever we ask, we are told that it is under process, under process, under process. It has no meaning. We will give you 10 days finally and we will hear the after and let us hope you will clear appointments as much as possible by then”, he stated.

The bench had given particulars of pending vacancies in 15 quasi-judicial our bodies akin to Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs), DRAT, Securities Appellate Tribunal, TDSAT, NCLT and NCLAT.

There are 19 vacant positions of presiding officers or the chairman in these tribunals and in addition to them, 110 and 111 posts of judicial and technical members respectively are vacant, the bench stated.

Mehta stated Attorney General Ok Ok Venugopal has been coping with the problems and he could also be higher geared up to reply.


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